Friday, October 18, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Who Advises the Pope?, by Marco Tosatti. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/18/13. "Here are the portraits of the cardinals, bishops, priests and one woman – Francesca Immacolata Chaoqui –whom the Pope talks and listens to."
  • Pope Francis Tells Almoner to Make It Personal in Charities Office Reform. EWTN News / National Catholic Register 10/17/13:
    Traditionally, the papal almoner sends parchments with the papal blessing to those who request them, and with the proceeds, as well as with other offerings, he sends a “modest donation” to those in need. The papal almoner also accompanies the Pope at official appearances and during international trips.

    But under Pope Francis, Archbishop Krajewski's role is about to change. Since both Archbishop Krajewski and Msgr. Ravelli have been part of the office of the papal master of ceremonies, it appears that Pope Francis wishes to mark his pontificate with a sort of “liturgy of the poor.”

    Archbishop Krajewski recounted to L'Osservatore Romano Oct. 4 that Pope Francis immediately explained to him the way he wanted to re-design his office.

    “You will not stay behind a desk signing parchments,” the Holy Father told the archbishop. “I want you always among the people. In Buenos Aires, I often went out in the evening to go find the poor. Now, I no longer can: It is difficult for me to leave the Vatican. You will do it for me.”

  • Pope to Auction Harley Davidson Motorcycle to Benefit Homeless National Catholic Register 10/16/13. The sale of the motorcycle will fund the renovation of Caritas’ Don Luigi di Liegro Hostel and Soup Kitchen at Rome’s Termini station.
  • Outgoing Vatican secretary of state stresses continuity between popes, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/15/13:
    ...In his remarks, Cardinal Bertone paid tribute to Pope Benedict, whom he served for more than six years as secretary of state, and for more than seven years at the Vatican's doctrinal office under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

    "What stirred our passion with Pope Benedict XVI was to see the church understand itself deeply as a communion, and at the same time speak to the world, to the heart and to the intelligence of all with clarity of doctrine and a high level of thought," the cardinal said.

    The retired pope "suffered greatly on account of the ills that plagued the church, and for this reason he gave her new legislation in order to strike out decisively the shameful phenomenon of pedophilia among the clergy, without forgetting the initiation of new rules in economic and administrative matters," he said.

    "I see today in Pope Francis not so much a revolution but a continuity with Pope Benedict XVI even with their differences in style and personal life," the cardinal said, noting in particular the strong devotion to Mary -- and particularly Our Lady of Fatima -- that he said united the two pontiffs.

  • Francis' Message for Beatification of Spanish Martyrs: "There is no such thing as love in parts, in portions. Love is total: and when one loves, one loves to the end" Zenit. 10/15/13. Here is a translation of the text of Francis’ video-message transmitted at the beginning of the beatification ceremony of 522 Spanish martyrs of the 20thcentury, which took place Sunday at Tarragona, Spain.
  • Francis appoints a Brazilian to the “bishop factory”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/12/13. The Pope has chosen a new Secretary for the Congregation for Bishops: Monsignor Ilson De Jesus Montanari who up until now has been the Congregation’s minute taker.
  • Francis: “The devil exists, let’s not confuse it with a mental illness”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/11/13:
    Pope Francis spoke again of the devil at today’s mass in St. Martha’s House, inviting faithful to take the Scriptures that mention the devil, seriously. The text Francis commented on today was a passage from Luke’s Gospel, which says that Jesus casts out demons but is not understood by the people.

    “There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’. They do not read this, no? It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter, as if to say: ‘All of these (people) were not possessed; they were mentally ill’. No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil,” Francis said.

Pope Francis in Assisi


  • Fellay and Francis, by Modestinus. Opus Publicum 10/18/13:
    There are several ways to interpret Bishop Fellay’s remarks on Francis. At one level they’re not particularly exciting, at least to the extent that they largely repeat well-word traditionalist criticisms of not just Francis, but several of the post-Vatican II popes. At another, though, they are downright shocking insofar as Fellay, for the first time that I am aware, has ever referred to any pope as “a genuine modernist.” Keep in mind that from the Society’s point of view, “modernism” is not just some rhetorical jab; it is an accusation of heresy. As St. Pius X stated in Pascendi, modernism is “the synthesis of all heresies.” This is why Pius X, along with several subsequent pontiffs, required Catholic bishops and priests to take an Oath Against Modernism. Though the “modernist” label was discarded after Vatican II, it remains, in the eyes of the Society and most traditional Catholics, a heresy no less malicious than Arianism, Nestorianism, Sabellianism, etc. Fellay, it seems, has called the present Pope “a genuine heretic,” a charge which not even the indefatigable Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais leveled against Pope Benedict XVI when the former penned a book attacking B16’s (Joseph Ratzinger) alleged heretical writings. (When questioned, Tissier de Mallerais backed off from calling the former pontiff a heretic, though he remained steadfast that some of Ratzinger’s writings contain heretical statements.)
  • Pope Francis Against Modernity?, by Andrew M. Haines. Ethika Politika 10/8/13:
    ... There is reason to believe, however, that far from being an evangelist of modernity, Francis is precisely one of its greatest critics. And that by wooing its strongest proponents, Francis is knee deep in a campaign to root out errors, identified by previous popes, at their core.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Pope meets Rome Jews, commemorates deportations to Auschwitz Catholic News Service. 10/11/13:
    At a meeting with members of Rome's Jewish community, Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism and recalled the 1943 deportation of more than 1,000 of the city's Jews to the most notorious Nazi death camp -- an incident that has proven a major source of tension between the papacy and Jewish leaders.

    "It's a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic, his roots are in part Jewish," the pope said Oct 11. "May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman."

  • Pope Francis Convenes Extraordinary Synod on the Family for October 2014 10/8/13:
    The Holy See Press Office today announced that Holy Father Francis has convened the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014, on the theme “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.
    Via Edward Pentin (National Catholic Register):
    Reform of the Synod of Bishops was also a topic for discussion during the “G8” Council of Cardinals which met at the Vatican last week.

    According to the Vatican, the Holy Father said at last week’s meeting that prominent themes such as family and matrimonial pastoral duties “will be the order of the day in the activity of the Church in the near future.” This is likely to include an examination of the Church’s pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics in the Church — a subject often raised by Francis and Benedict XVI in the recent past.

    Today’s announcement came after a two-day meeting of the synod council which ended today. Pope Francis surprised participants by taking part in some of the meeting.

  • Pope, in Assisi, calls on church to renounce 'spirit of the world' Catholic News Service. 10/04/13:
    Making his first pilgrimage as pope to the birthplace of his papal namesake, Pope Francis called on the whole church to imitate St. Francis of Assisi, embracing poverty and stripping itself of the "spirit of world."

    "A Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world," he said. Worldliness "leads us to vanity, arrogance, pride. And this is an idol, it is not of God."

    The pope spoke Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, in the "stripping room" of the Assisi archbishop's residence, where the saint shed himself of his rich clothes and embraced a life of poverty.

    "This is a good occasion for inviting the church to strip itself," the pope said, adding that he directed his invitation not merely to the hierarchy but all the church's members, and that he sought renunciation of spiritual complacency as well as material riches.

    "It is so sad to find a worldly Christian, who thinks he enjoys the security of the faith and of the world. One can't have it both ways."

  • Pope, cardinal advisers looking at major overhaul of Roman Curia, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of "service to the universal church and the local churches," the Vatican spokesman said.

    As the pope and the eight cardinals he named to advise him were about to begin the final session of their Oct. 1-3 meeting, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, said the role and responsibilities of the Vatican secretary of state, the revamping of the world Synod of Bishops, and the Vatican's attention to the role and responsibility of laity also were major themes of discussion.

  • In interviews, Pope Francis crafts a new genre of papal language, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/3/13:
    "This is a genre to which we were not accustomed," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Oct. 2, the day after Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari published his account of a conversation with the pope. "Let's take it for what it is, seeking to interpret it correctly." ...

    Pope Francis' addition to the magisterial, canonical and pastoral forms of papal communication, Father Lombardi said, is a genre that might be termed "conversational," comprising not only the pope's interviews with journalists but also his off-the-cuff homilies at daily morning Masses, of which the Vatican publishes only summaries with verbatim excerpts.

    When the pope speaks spontaneously, his words should carry correspondingly less weight than in more traditional forms and contexts, Father Lombardi said.

  • Francis' teacher says Pope never supported Marxist theology Catholic News Agency. 09/13/13:
    One of Pope Francis' former teachers says in a new book that the Holy Father has never supported a Marxist-based liberation theology.

    “In the Argentinean Liberation Theology, social Marxist analysis is not used, but rather a historical-cultural analysis, not based on class warfare as a determining principle for the interpretation of society and history,” said Argentinean Jesuit priest Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone.

    “I think that the pastoral work of Bergoglio is understood in this context.”

  • Francis officially establishes “Council of Cardinals” to advise on Church government and Curia reform La Stampa 09/30/13. Francis has issued a chirograph officially establishing the eight-member Council of Cardinals to help him govern the Church and reform the Roman Curia.
  • Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April 27 Catholic News Service. 09/10/13. Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27.
  • Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka make history in the Vatican La Stampa 09/29/13:
    Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.

    That is what actually happened over the past four days at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where Pope Francis lives and where his friend from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, has been his guest from September 25 to this day.

  • Francis makes key new appointments La Stampa. 09/20/13. Francis has started building his team of trusted collaborators. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza is being transferred to the Apostolic Penitentiary.


  • Finding a home in the confessional thanks to Pope Francis, by Renee Schafer Horton. National Catholic Reporter 10/10/13:
    I went to confession on Saturday. I think the last time I celebrated the sacrament in a traditional Saturday afternoon setting was more than a decade ago. When someone asked me why I was going, the answer was simple: I was compelled to go because of the pope.

    Not because Pope Francis has asked Catholics to get back in the confessional, but because his recent interviews and heartfelt actions as pastor in chief have made me want to be a better person and a more fulfilled, better practicing Catholic. I've felt like I've not only been given hope for the church, but a challenge for myself. ...

    Every day, I hear from Catholics who, like me, are reconsidering their lives, their actions, their faith practice, all because of an Argentine priest who proclaims, "I am a sinner." The pope isn't getting this reaction by outlining a list of do's and don'ts. Instead, the world's parish priest proclaims the message of God's mercy in such human terms one cannot help but listen. He lives a life so obviously influenced by Jesus that one cannot remain unaffected. It is almost as though, if you listen close enough, you can hear him say, without uttering a word, "Try this again; it will lead you to Jesus."

    This weekend, I did try it again, walking into a dimly lit confessional, getting on my knees and saying, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." And for the first time in a long time, it felt like home.

  • Lapsed, but Listening, by Timothy Egan. New York Times 10/10/13:
    Pope Francis has shown himself to be a free spirit and a free thinker. He loves the music of Mozart, the paintings of Chagall, the films of Fellini. He tweets. He talks to atheists. He stays out of politics. He calls for the faithful to “mess up the church.” He doesn’t moralize or sermonize, and famously said, when asked about gays, “Who am I to judge?” Is this pope Catholic?

    Francis has befuddled the guardians of dogma and medieval sexual doctrines who have long kept sunlight out of the Vatican. He is — gasp — a liberal. Or at the least, as he said, “I have never been a right winger.” But to put him in those restrictive political terms does a disservice to the quiet revolution of Pope Francis.

    It’s long been known that most North American and European Catholics ignore church teachings on gays, contraception and abortion. These teachings range from absurd to unscientific to outright hateful. Without specifically changing the official line, Francis prompted millions of Catholics to give the church a second look when he criticized the hierarchy for being “obsessed” with those issues. Amen, said nearly 70 percent American Catholics who agreed with him in a Quinnipiac poll.

    [Not sure if this the message Francis intended to convey? -- Editor]
  • And where from here?, by Dale Price. Dyspeptic Mutterings 10/7/13. "I've come to the conclusion that, regardless of the actual temporal length (and may God grant Pope Francis many healthy years), this is going to be a loooooong papacy."
  • Francis' 'older son' problem; red herrings; and pingpong on financial reform National Catholic Reporter 10/11/13. |
  • Council of Cardinals; pope interviews; Assisi; Francis the mystic; and war on Christians, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 10/04/13. "I've been covering the Vatican for almost 20 years, and aside from the two conclaves during that span, I'd be hard-pressed to recall many weeks with more breaking news than what we experienced the last seven days."
  • Pope Francis, Catechist in Action, by James V. Schall, SJ. Catholic World Report 09/30/13. Thoughts on the Holy Father's recent address about "one of the most beautiful educational adventures".
  • Pope Francis Calls For A Work, Not A Welfare, Culture Wheat and Weeds 09/28/13.
  • Eco: “Francis is the Pope of the world of globalization” The famous Italian semiotician, philosopher and writer, Umberto Eco, shares his views on Pope Francis in an exclusive interview with Argentina’s daily newspaper, La Nacion. 09/28/13.
  • The Danger of Good Popes, by Brantley Millegan. First Things "On The Square" 09/27/13:
    A number of Catholic authors have endeavored to defend Pope Francis from criticism, particularly stemming from his recent interview. They have tried to defend him not only from misinterpretation, but also from criticisms of what he actually did say, his style, his choice of what to emphasize, etc. Their goal is admirable, and I largely agree with their sentiments, but in an effort to defend Pope Francis, Catholics must be sure to not overstate the role, powers, and privileges of the papacy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pope Francis: The Second Interview (Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica)

The Interview

As reported by the MSM

The Commentary

  • Pope Francis –What Did You Mean Exactly?, by Dr. Monica M. Miller. (Guest-post to The Pertinacious Papist) A helpful compilation of the most troubling quotes within the second interview which are "ambiguous and thus subject to exploitation and misuse by those who do not accept the teaching of Christ."
  • The Pope's Chat With An Atheist, by Fr. James V. Schall. Catholic World Report 10/4/13. The recent "La Repubblica" interview with Francis touches on many topics, not always with clarity or precision.
  • Catholic is as Catholic does, by Elliot Bougis. 10/4/13:
    Hence, the most persistently stinging “vulnus” that I have received from the Pope’s words and actions of late–and please keep in mind that I am writing with a genuinely wounded, baffled, confused, and prayerful heart–is precisely the slow fade from the Catholic Thing towards a More Englightened And Inviting Catholicesque Thingamabob that he has legitimized in countless subtle ways. For example, Pope Francis has openly said he does not believe in “a Catholic God”–silly proselytizer, there’s no such thing as the “Catholic God”! This thunderbolt of a claim, of course, entails that he does not believe in “the Catholic Church,” either. For, insofar as there is no “Catholic God,” there is no “Catholic Church;” there is just the unqualified People of the unknown God and every individual’s conscience. All effects are (pre-)contained in their cause; no cause can give what it does not first possess. If, then, there is no Catholic God, and if God is the One who calls the Church into being, then there can be no Catholic Church as, precisely, that communion called by the God known in Catholic teaching.

    I don’t understand why this statement of his has not received more attention. Oh, I realize that the most charitable way to interpret his point, entirely uncontroversial in its own right, is that the God he believes in is not a God for Catholics only. Unfortunately, I think his meaning goes much farther than the most charitable reading can sustain. And if his meaning is not simply that “God is for everybody,” then it gets to the root of my discomfort with this Pope. ...

  • The Pope They’ve Been Waiting For, by George Neumayr. The American Spectator 10/2/13:
    "This is not an Onion parody. This is the Catholic Church, circa 2013, under the hope-and-change pontificate of Francis — the one Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Jane Fonda have been waiting for. … Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today, he wouldn’t recognize Francis as a Jesuit. He might not even recognize him as a Catholic. For all of his chirpy talk about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Francis speaks like a subjectivist, for whom religion is not something received from the triune God but something created from within, which is the hallmark of modernism, from which the spirit of Vatican II sprung.
  • It Doesn’t Take a Rigorist: Why All Catholics Should Be Concerned About Pope Francis, by Steve Skojec. 10/3/13:
    I don’t have any ill-will for Catholics defending the pope, but I do wish they would stop already. He is doing a lot of damage. He is muddying the already unclear theological waters and making it very, very easy for a world hell bent on seeing Catholics as the bad guys to misinterpret things until we have no chance of having an honest conversation about anything anymore. They’re already using “but the pope said” arguments against people out there defending the unborn and arguing against gay marriage. It isn’t going to stop. So while there may not be malice at work, I think these papal apologists need to step back and ask themselves if they’re maybe, just maybe, being a bit willfully obtuse.
  • Proselytize NO, Evangelize YES, Said Pope Francis. Kathy Schiffer looks back to Francis' remarks at morning Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence on Wednesday, May 8 to discern the meaning of his interview:
    “Evangelization is not proselytizing,” he said. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to faithful gathered for Mass on Wednesday morning in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope reiterated that the Christian who wants to proclaim the Gospel must dialogue with everyone, knowing that no one owns the truth, because the truth is received by the encounter with Jesus. Radio Vatican published the full remarks:
    “A Christian,” said Pope Francis, “must proclaim Jesus Christ in such a way that He be accepted: received, not refused – and Paul knows that he has to sow the Gospel message. He knows that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is not easy, but that it does not depend on him. He must do everything possible, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the truth, depends on the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel: ‘When He shall come, the Spirit of truth, shall guide you into all the truth.’ Paul does not say to the Athenians: ‘This is the encyclopedia of truth. Study this and you have the truth, the truth.’ No! The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia. The truth is an encounter – it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. We receive the truth when we meet [it].

    But why did Paul act as he did? First, the Pope said, because “this is the way” of Jesus who “spoke with everyone” with sinners, publicans, teachers of the law. Paul, therefore, “follows the attitude of Jesus”:

    “The Christian who would bring the Gospel must go down this road: [must] listen to everyone! But now is a good time in the life of the Church: the last 50 or 60 years have been a good time – for I remember when as a child one would hear in Catholic families, in my family, ‘No, we cannot go to their house, because they are not married in the Church, eh!’. It was as an exclusion. No, you could not go! Neither could we go to [the houses of] socialists or atheists. Now, thank God, people do not says such things, right? [Such an attitude] was a defense of the faith, but it was one of walls: the LORD made bridges. First: Paul has this attitude, because it was the attitude of Jesus. Second, Paul is aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize.

    So clearly, in the Pope’s mind, evangelization is not proselytizing.

  • Francis in Dialogue with the World, by Nathaniel Peters. First Things "On The Square" 10/02/13:
    ... Francis sees himself as pursuing the truth together in conversation with Scalfari. They are not out simply to convert each other, but to build a friendship. And throughout Francis shows by example the willingness to look for the movements of God even in souls that seem closed to him.
  • Francis Interview #2: UPDATED WITH CORRECTION -- in which we are told that the certain passages within the interview are poorly translated and it is helpful to know Italian.
    Take the rest of the interview with a grain of salt--and with the Catechism at hand, knowing--as Pope Francis told Father Spadaro-- that he is a "son of the Church" and that everything he says should be interpreted in the light of Church teachings. I am sure that other commenters will be providing more of a blow-by-blow, but I wanted to get this out fast.
  • "Tradduttore, traditore", by Elliot Bougis:
    Heaven forbid the Pope should think to forestall grave theological errors when talking with an atheist in an interview he well knows is going to impact the entire world. I also understand and accept that we can’t “leave everything up to the Pope,” and that we lay persons must exert ourselves in proclaiming the Church’s teaching. Nonetheless, why are so many of the laity’s exertions lately being wasted on menial tasks like couching the Pope’s words in a sophisticated theological context when the Pope himself consistently sees unfit to do so on his own? Being “a son of the Church” does not give you carte blanche to ramble off anything you think sounds nice and adequately orthodoxoid.
  • Did Pope Francis just say that evangelization is “nonsense”? 8 things to know and share, by Jimmy Akin. National Catholic Register 10/01/13.
  • Reading Francis: The Furor Continues, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. Catholic Culture. 10/02/13. "We ought therefore to put on our “conversation-with-an-estranged-friend” glasses when we read this interview. ..."
  • What Did The Pope Really Say? 2 – Proselytism, by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Reading Francis Through Benedict 10/03/13.
  • Reading Francis Through Leo XIII?, by Kevin Tierney. 10/2/13. "People won’t look to an eternal home when they don’t have much a chance of surviving in the present."
  • Fr. John Zuhlsdorf: Andrea Tornielli has a piece today at Sacri Palazzi wherein he calls into question the veracity of Scalfari’s account of the interview with Pope Francis.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pope Francis: "I don't give interviews."

Appropos of today's news of a second interview with the Pope ...

"It's true I don't give interviews. I don't know why. I just can't. It's tiresome," he said. "But I enjoy your company."

Pope Francis, en route TO Brazil. July 22, 2013.

(HT: Patrick Archibold, Creative Minority Report).